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Pope Francis

Pope to award 2016 Ratzinger Prize to Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles

October 20, 2016. The winners of this year's Ratzinger Prize will be Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles. The former, an Italian priest, is an expert in Systematic Theology and History of Medieval Theology. The latter is Greek and an Orthodox. He is an expert in History of Dogmas and Dogmatic Theology. He will be the first Orthodox to be awarded the prize given by the Joseph Ratzinger Foundation, considered by many the Nobel Prize of Theology.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis sends his condolences to Thais after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej

October 14, 2016. Pope Francis has sent a message to the Prime Minister of Thailand to express his condolences for the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He was 88 years old, and his reign spanned seven decades. Pope Francis said he is "deeply saddened” and he expresses his closeness to the members of the royal family and the Thai people.
Pope Francis

Pope sends 100,000 dollars for Hurricane Matthew victims

October 14, 2016. Through the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", Pope Francis will send $100,000 to the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. The money will fund relief efforts in the first stages of recovery after the devastating effects of the hurricane. With this gesture, the pope wants to express his "closeness of spirit and fatherly support” to everyone in the affected area.
Pope Francis

Pope authorizes new decrees of heroic virtues for four potential saints

October 11, 2016. Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree of heroic virtues to four people, who are being investigated by the Church for possible sainthood. The decrees were given to the following "Servants of God:”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis rejects death penalty on Twitter: #NoDeathPenalty

October 10, 2016. The Pope has has given his support via Twitter to the World Day Against the Death Penalty. The following message can be read in each of his nine accounts, in their respective languages: "Punishment should necessarily include hope! #NoDeathPenalty.”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis announces Synod about youth and vocation

October 6, 2016. It will be held in 2018 under the name "Youth, faith, and vocational discernment.” Preparations for the second Synod of bishops convened by Pope Francis are well underway.

Theme chosen for 2017 World Communications Day

September 29, 2016. The theme for the 2017 World Communications Day has officially been announced. Coming from the book of Isiah, the theme is: "Fear not, for I am with you: communicating hope and trust in our time.”
Pope Francis

Pope will not be able to travel to Israel on Friday to attend the funeral of Shimon Peres

September 28, 2016. Despite the rumors that Pope Francis will travel to Israel to attend Shimon Peres funeral, the Vatican has issued a statement officially announcing a confirmation for the pope's scheduled visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan will remain as planned on Friday. The pope spoke warmly about the former leader and sent out a telegram of condolences:
Pope Francis

Pope's schedule during his trip to Sweden

September 27, 2016. Pope Francis will travel to Sweden next October 31 and November 1, for the occasion of the Lutheran–Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation.This will be the 17th trip of his pontificate.

Third priest found dead in Mexico

September 26, 2016.Mexican priest, Alfredo Lopez Guillen, was found dead this weekend on a rural road about 350 km east of Mexico City, after being allegedly abducted and assaulted in his parish on Monday September 19. This is the third case of violence against priests in Mexico in just one week. On Monday, September 19, Fr. Nabor Jiménez and Fr. José Alfredo Juarez were also kidnapped in the church of Our Lady of Fatima. Hours later they found them lifeless in a ditch in Poza Rica, Veracruz. The Catholic Church wants clarification on the murders, because it is not yet known who could be the alleged perpetrators.
Pope Francis

Holy See adopts UN Convention against Corruption

September 23, 2016. Pope Francis has asked the Vatican to be exemplary in the fight against corruption and meet the set international standards in this regard. Therefore, the Secretary of State has announced that the Holy See will conform to the Merida Convention against Corruption. This requires countries to implement anti-corruption measures concerning its laws, institutions and practices. From now on, the Roman Curia and the Vatican City State will review its administrative procedures to align them to the standards set by the Convention. Through this compliance, the Vatican says it hopes to contribute to increased transparency and proper management of public affairs in the international community.

Center in Rome prepares youth to become modern missionaries


Lithuanian Student
"On the one hand, it's challenging definitely because it's my hometown, and I know people there. But on the other hand, I know that one of the reasons I came here, is not only because of myself, of my own faith, but because I want to share it.”

Elena is one of the trip's organizers. She's also one of 18 student at the Emmanuel School of Mission in Rome. In just days, the class will head to her native Lithuania for two weeks.

The first week they will spend in classroom at schools and universities, the second, in the streets, with one message to share.

Lithuanian Student
"An example of how young Catholics can live, and it will inspire young people, especially non believers to start to do something. And people who are already in the Church to renew it and to go further.”

Six months ago, those plans would have been difficult for Elena without the preparation from the school of mission.

It was founded 15 years ago by the Emmanuel Community, a Catholic evangelization group. They established four campuses: in Rome, Germany, France and the Philippines.

Co-Director, Emmanuel School of Mission
"It takes great guts to come here because you're giving up everything for nine months and saying God I wanna do what you want me to do. And I'm gonna go somewhere completely out of my comfort zone.”

But being in the heartland of Catholicism adds another dimension. All students in Rome experienced the election of Pope Francis. His message to youth did not go unnoticed.

German student
"I heard him on Palm Sunday, his speech on the youth, and I think we can expect a lot of good things from him, especially in Rio when he's gonna come to World Youth Day.”

Polish Student
"I try to read everything quotes, his speech, homily. We have a special board with some quotes from his homily or from Twitter.”

The school in Rome has students from all over the world, from as far away as Malaysia or Australia. Students stay at the Domus Aurelia, a hotel owned by the Emmanuel Community. And in fact, hotel stays partly fund the school.

That money helps students in need cover the $13,000 price tag for the program. But for many, the costs are well worth the time.

Lithuanian Student
"I think it's one of the best decision of my life really.”

In addition to spiritual formation, the students also receive a certificate from the Vatican's Lateran University.

But more than that, the experience gives them the tools to reach out to others and share their faith.